My grandmother’s stroganoff is one of my all-time favorite meals. I’ve tried to duplicate it, but it never turned out quite right . . . until now.
Grammie’s stroganoff is thinly sliced beef in a creamy, thin sauce with mushrooms and onions. The sauce has an underlying flavor that I always thought came from wine or sherry; making the dish with either produces a nice meal, but it’s just not the same as what I grew up with.
The secret to the sauce, as I found out from Grammie this week, is brandy.
Grammie’s Stroganoff (Adapted)
- 1 lb London broil, partially defrosted
- 10 oz sliced porcini mushrooms
- 1 sweet onion
- 12 oz egg noodles
- 1/4 cup sour cream (or a little more, if you like)
- 2 tbsp. brandy
- olive oil
[Grammie cooks the beef, onion, and mushrooms together, but my pan isn’t big enough to cook everything at the right rate together.]
Melt butter and some olive oil in a pan (I play fast and loose with the amount of butter here — just start with a tablespoon and see how it goes.); add the sliced mushrooms and onions, and sautee until the onions are golden and the mushrooms are fragrant.
While the vegetables are cooking, get started on the noodles, and slice the beef thinly. The easiest way to cut beef into thin strips, I’ve found, is to let the beef defrost partially (either in the fridge, for a few hours, or in the microwave immediately before cooking), and slice it with a good bread knife against the grain.
Once the onions and mushrooms are done, transfer to a plate. Add more butter to the pan, a few drops of oil, and melt. Add the beef, a couple sprinkles of salt, and fry until just cooked through. The beef will release plenty of cooking liquid — instant sauce! Add the mushrooms and onions back into the pan, along with the brandy. Simmer a few minutes, until the alcohol evaporates.
Take the pan off the heat, stir in the sour cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and spoon over those noodles. Serve immediately. Roasted carrots are an excellent side dish.
And now, on to dessert.
Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are the best I’ve ever had. Try as I might, mine are never the same, but this last batch looked better than my usual under/overcooked blobs, though the buttery taste was undercut by too much flour. Alas, a baker I am not.